Conte Candoli had this incredible mop of white hair, a
carefully managed harvest of silver that flashed
like a battle pennant when he was up there in the back row
of a big band. The back row is where the
trumpet players sit. This is the bridge, this is mission control.
They called him Count, this strange Old World figure, and
when Count was on duty, his bandmates
could be sure those crucial brass passages would bark right
out and make the whole band speak.
This was true even though Candoli didn't play lead trumpet,
but covered the second or third parts in
the ensemble harmony.
Count's place on the haphazard battlefield of modern jazz
rested on his prowess as a trumpet soloist, a
narrow specialty in which he was an all time top gun